Natalie Boyd

Hume-Fogg Math Teacher in Running for National Award
Posted on 05/05/2021
Natalie Boyd
An MNPS math teacher is up for the nation’s highest teaching honor in her field.

Natalie Boyd, who teaches at Hume-Fogg Magnet High School, is one of three Tennessee finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the highest honors given by the U.S. government specifically for teaching K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science. Winners are chosen by a National Science Foundation committee and receive $10,000 and a paid trip to Washington, D.C. Natalie Boyd

“It’s a big validation of how hard I’ve worked and who I’ve become as a teacher,” said Boyd, who is in her seventh year at Hume-Fogg and her 12th with Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Boyd said the calculus class she took in high school convinced her that she wanted to work with mathematics in some capacity. Math helps her – and many other people – “make sense of the world,” she said.

Her teaching style has changed a lot through the years, an evolution she attributes to MNPS’s professional development classes and mentorships. She previously taught in a way that was “procedural rather than conceptual” but now teaches much more conceptually, with students working on tasks in small groups every day.

“It’s a more student-centered classroom,” she said.

Hume-Fogg Principal Kellie Hargis said Boyd is an outstanding educator who “challenges her students to engage confidently in mathematical thinking, to think critically, and to consider multiple solutions to problems.”

“And she does this all while providing an environment that is nurturing, compassionate, and supportive – a classroom in which students want to spend time,” Hargis said. “And to boot, she does the very same with her colleagues. She inspires growth in all of us, students and staff alike.”

Jessica Slayton, director of mathematics for MNPS, said Boyd “is highly collaborative and positions herself as a learner - always looking for ways to improve her instructional practice to make it more meaningful for her students.” 

Boyd, who also serves on Director of Schools Adrienne Battle’s Teachers Cabinet, agreed that collaboration has been a key to her success.

“I wouldn’t be where I am now as a teacher without my colleagues,” she said. “I’ve grown a lot and learned a lot because of the amazing teachers I’ve worked with and who have helped me along the way.”

When she’s not working, Boyd enjoys spending time with her family and singing at church and in a community chorus.
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